ASTRA Central and Eastern European Women’s Network for Sexual and Reproductive Rights and Health

Apr 15 2014

UN Commission on Population and Development Identifies Gaps in Human Rights and Health of Women and Young People

NEW YORK—The 47th session of the Commission on Population and Development ended early Saturday morning, April 12th with a call from governments to promote gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as key priorities for sustainable development. The Commission urged world leaders to integrate these rights into the new development framework that will replace the Millennium Development Goals, which are set to expire in 2015.

The weeklong Commission was convened at the UN headquarters in New York to assess 20 years of progress since the groundbreaking agreements made at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo in 1994. At Cairo, 179 governments agreed that women’s health and rights—specifically sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights—must be central to global development policies, programs, and funding, and are the key to reducing the social and economic inequalities that exist worldwide.


At this critical juncture in the post-2015 process, governments have renewed the commitments made in Cairo in 1994 and since. The right to control one’s fertility and sexuality is fundamental to social and sustainable development and governments have agreed it should be a core part of the next development agenda. Now we need strong leadership from governments to lead us into the next fifteen years.


Despite significant progress since Cairo, the Commission recognized that the global community has yet to fulfill the promise of equitable and universal access to quality, integrated sexual and reproductive health care services. To address these gaps, the Commission urged governments to expand access to confidential and non-discriminatory sexual and reproductive heath-care services for youth and adolescents, including comprehensive, evidence-based education on human sexuality and measures to prevent and treat HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. The Commission also called on governments to train and equip health-service providers to ensure that, in circumstances where abortion is not against the law, abortion is safe and accessible, and to intensify efforts to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support without stigma and discrimination.


To move the vision of Cairo forward, the Commission called on governments to respect, protect, and fulfill the human rights of women and girls, including their sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, and to address persistent inequalities and “discrimination on any grounds,” including through the unfair and discriminatory application of laws. It further called on governments to establish affirmative action plans to promote the development of Afro-descendent populations and indigenous peoples.


The Commission also expressed deep concern about the pervasiveness of gender-based violence and reiterated the need to intensify efforts to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence and harmful practices, including child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.


Throughout the week, many governments expressed strong support for advancing the human rights of all to control all aspects of their sexuality, collectively known as “sexual rights.” In addition, 59 governments explicitly called for action to end discrimination and violence on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The calls came from countries as diverse as the Philippines, South Africa, the Pacific Islands, Viet Nam, Nepal, Mongolia, Suriname, the United States, Australia, Norway, the European Union, and most Latin American countries. These calls build on similar agreements made during regional reviews of ICPD in Latin America and the Caribbean and Asia and the Pacific in 2013.


However, a striking lack of transparency and due process during the negotiations allowed a small group of conservative countries and the Holy See to block language on sexual rights in the final agreement. These same governments also made several vitriolic attacks on the role of civil society in a clear attempt to silence progressive voices. The 11th hour move to block sexual rights elicited strong rebukes from many government delegations during the closing plenary: “Our governments will not be pushed backward for fear of accepting reality,” said the Philippines, while South Africa called for more “inclusive societies” and Norway stated that “discrimination and violence on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity should not be tolerated in any society.”


Despite the fact that African governments affirmed sexual rights in a regional Ministerial agreement on ICPD Beyond 2014 in October 2013, many African delegations refused to accept inclusion of the term in the global agreement. Nevertheless, the support for sexual rights expressed in the room was unprecedented, and marked an historical moment in the ongoing struggle for universal human rights.


Governments will reconvene in September at the UN General Assembly to renew political support for the actions required to achieve the goals of the ICPD Programme of Action.

Apr 11 2014

Today is the last day of the 47th session of the Commission on Population and Development.

Yesterday the Polish ASTRA member also serving as ASTRA Secretariat, Federation for Women and Family Planning delivered oral statement. Read it HERE.


Apr 08 2014

Check out this brand new factsheet by ASTRA Youth on adolescent and young people's SRHR in Central and Eastern Europe developed in cooperation with ARROW

Access it online HERE.

Apr 04 2014

A conference devoted to „The Long-Term Future of the European Court of Human Rights” will be held in Oslo, Norway on the 7th and 8th of April 2014. The conference is organized under the auspices of the Council of Europe and will be one of the most important debates on the future of the European Court of Human Rights (“ECtHR”) since the Brighton Conference held on 18-20 April 2012. A coalition of non-governmental organizations coming from Central and Eastern Europe took the opportunity to recall the fundamentals lying behind the adoption of the Convention - read the Central and Eastern European NGOs statement on the Future of the European Court of Human Rights online HERE.

Apr 01 2014

From the 7-11 April the 47th session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) will be taking place in New York. It is one of the last steps in the ICPD review process before the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on ICPD beyond 2014 in September this year. Two weeks ago it was finally confirmed that the 47th session of the CPD will be negotiated. This year’s CPD Bureau is chaired by Uruguay, with vice-chairpersons from Denmark, Japan, Georgia and Senegal.

The ASTRA delegation for the 47th CPD consists of representatives from Macedonia, Bulgaria and Poland. ASTRA has also prepared a written statement for this session, access it here. To make sure you are up to date with the developments please follow ASTRA on Twitter (hashtag #CPD47) and Facebook.  

To learn more about the 47th CPD and access the documentation click HERE.  

The session will transmitted online via

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